Inspiring and mentoring young conservationists

The CSI program centers the feminine, which includes those who are socialized as, or identify with, the terms girl/ young women, as well as those who transcend our inherited gender binaries. We are committed to creating safe, inclusive, and accessible spaces for all participants.

ACR’s Conservation Science Intensive is a highly-regarded residential immersion giving the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in science, explore different pathways into the field of conservation, and build relationships with mentors across multiple professions. The program is in its 8 year and draws students from across the country.

In summer 2020, ACR recast the program within a virtual platform in response to the Covid-19 public health crisis. With the success of the 2020 and 2021 programs, and in light of the ongoing pandemic, the 2022 program will also be conducted remotely.

In the 2022 virtual program, participants will meet and learn from ACR conservation science staff—from research ecologists to land stewardship practitioners. Participants will explore the many facets of conservation science, all within a framework of strong leadership—a culture of bravery, and a growing network of support.

This program is best suited for individuals with a budding interest in conservation science and a desire to think deeply, explore with curiosity, and build a community around shared interests.

Daily programming will include professional speaker panels, leadership skill development, and exploration into different pathways into the conservation science profession.

Past CSI participants had this to say: 

"Something I took away was that there were so many more connections and roles within conservation science than I ever really thought about or knew and it was really interesting to learn about them."

"I feel like I took away so much from the experience! It was the most interesting thing I’ve done this summer and by far the most well organized and informative virtual event that I’ve done."

"The CSI program has an overall wonderful leadership team of inspiring, dedicated, and passionate women that made me feel empowered and capable of changing the world for the better. Thank you all!"

"The entire program was a really great experience, however what I loved the most was meeting all the incredible female role models. Everyday we met someone new and listened to their inspiring stories of how they became the person they are today. I learned so much from each individual about their passions, which I found to be very motivating and inspiring."

"What I brought to the program is diversity, we have a lot of women of color here, and that is really great, and that is something kind of new for me in my experiences, and we were able to make really good connections and ask really good questions of the panel, because we have some many people from a lot of different places. Something I took from the program that was really important for me was the idea of taking up space. I am not normally the kind of person to reach out to people or to be the first to talk, but I was inspired and a lot of people encouraged me to take up the space because I can. Yes!"

WHERE: Each day, participants will gather on Zoom and complete independent activities between the hours of 9:00 a.m. PST and 4:00 p.m. PST. Participants are expected to be available for the duration of the program.

WHO: Young women entering their junior or senior year of high school in fall 2022 are invited to apply. Applicants must live within the Pacific, Mountain, Central and Eastern US time zones.

WHEN: Session dates are:

  • June 27– July 1, 2022

Applicants should indicate their availability for each session on the application form (linked below).

COST: $50 non-refundable fee; to be paid upon acceptance to the program. Cost should not be a deterrent for participation; waivers will be granted to those for whom payment is a hardship. CSI is a program of Audubon Canyon Ranch, a nonprofit organization whose programs are made possible thanks to donations from generous individuals, foundations and businesses.

HOW TO APPLY: Application for CSI 2022

Questions? Contact program staff at [email protected]

More About the CSI Residential Program

ACR's Conservation Science Intensive inspires young women to develop a stronger connection to themselves, each other, and the natural world while learning about and practicing land conservation, stewardship, nature writing, and illustration. The 5-day, 4-night collaborative expeditionary program challenges participants—individually and collectively—physically, creatively, and intellectually, as they work with and learn from ACR’s highly-skilled conservation biologists, ecologists, educators and guest artists, writers, and musicians.

Due to Covid-19 public health restrictions, the 2020—2022 sessions will take place within a virtual meeting platform (Zoom), mixing group discussions, independent study, team building activities, and more.

Once we are able to gather again in person, daily activities include extensive time on the land, natural history skill building (tracking, botany, birding, working with maps/GPS, etc.), stewardship & conservation projects, directed journaling, solo time, team building, and group discussion, all within a framework of strong leadership - a culture of safety, encouragement, loving kindness, and mutual respect on all levels and at all times.